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Here's How the Public Can Solve the American Blood Shortage Crisis - medtigo

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Here’s How the Public Can Solve the American Blood Shortage Crisis

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As of January 14, 2022, 68 percent of blood facilities in the United States have a blood supply of fewer than three days – the bare minimum required to meet expected demand.

Under normal circumstances, the Red Cross delivers 40% of the national blood supply used by hospitals in the United States. However, since the pandemic began, the number of persons donating blood has decreased by 10%, according to the organization.

The Red Cross is promoting awareness and encouraging people to donate blood to help alleviate the shortage:

In a news release, the American Red Cross stated, “All types are required now, especially types O positive and O negative, as well as platelet donations, to assist reverse this national blood shortage. Donors are asked to arrange an appointment in the days and weeks ahead to guarantee the Red Cross can replace and maintain a sufficient blood supply.”

Blood cannot be created. Therefore blood transfusion is the only therapy option. People must consequently donate blood to preserve lives.

So, how awful is it right now?

Dr. Brian Wagers, associate chief medical officer and emergency medicine physician at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IN, told MNT: “Right now, we need as much blood as possible.”

“It is widespread for a single patient to require tens of units of blood, particularly in a trauma patient.” You can see how many donors are required to suit the needs of just one patient. Everyone who can donate as often as it is safe for them to do so is needed.”

Five hundred milliliters equals one unit of blood. According to the American Red Cross, 29,000 red blood cells are required every day in the United States. An automobile accident sufferer may need as many as 100 units of blood, although the average red blood cell transfusion is roughly three units.

The nationwide blood shortage, however, has not affected everyone evenly. Children’s Minnesota Lab and Pathology department medical director Bryan Schmitt, DO, told Medical News Today:

“We haven’t been touched by the nationwide blood shortage at Children’s Minnesota, thankfully.” Due to the nationwide scarcity, our supplier has requested that we maintain 20% less blood on hand. We’re also being more conscious of how we use our products.”

While routine operations at Children’s Minnesota have not been affected, he noted that “healthcare systems can’t withstand low blood supplies indefinitely.”

What can the general population do to help with the blood shortage?

All of the experts questioned agreed that donating blood is one of the most effective methods for the general people to contribute to the ongoing blood shortage in the United States and save lives.

“Please schedule a blood donation appointment as soon as possible – go to redcrossblood.org and search for a blood drive in your zip code in the United States.” Also, advise your friends and relatives to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Please keep donating blood; we need a continuous, regular supply to keep saving lives,” Dr. Andrews urged.

“And please do everything you can to avoid getting infected with [SARS-CoV-2], such as getting vaccinated or boosted. “The ongoing pandemic is the core cause of this significant blood scarcity,” she continued.

Even though the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UMPC) is not directly affected by the shortage, a university representative reiterated this sentiment: “The blood supplies required to care for our patients are available at UMPC […] Community people, on the other hand, are encouraged to donate lifesaving blood during local blood drives.”

“Even though we are amid a pandemic, children continue to suffer life-threatening injuries and require surgery to treat life-threatening infections.” “Having a sufficient blood supply on hand is a critical component of making those efforts successful,” Dr. Schmitt added.

Others noted that there are other options for assisting in the blood shortage than donating blood: “It’s also critical for people to multiply their efforts by conducting community blood drives regularly so that more people may donate blood,” Dr. Wagers stated.

“Having folks relate personal tales of family members or other loved ones who have benefited from blood products helps motivate and inspire others to give back and donate blood.”

“Consider volunteering at a local blood drive or hosting one,” Dr. Ransburg advised. Your local blood center’s website has information on how to volunteer or conduct a blood drive.” However, the most excellent way to get personally involved is to donate blood. “Blood donation is both necessary and safe,” she concluded. Please donate today if you are eligible.”

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